Fiat 126p

An ongoing series looking at the Fiat 126p in Poland.

The Fiat 126p was the first real, popular and affordable car, to provide mobility for ordinary families in Communist Poland. During the Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa (Polish People's Republic) owning a car was considered a luxury and in 1971 there were only 556,000 passenger cars in Poland. With no free market and being unable to exchange Polish Zloty into Western currencies; purchasing a car was not easy.

The Fiat 126p a Polish version of Fiat 126, would change that. An agreement between the Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych (Passenger Automobile Factory) and Fiat saw the construction of the first 126p in 1973. Up until manufacturing stopped in September 2000 a total of 3,318,674 units were built in Poland. The 126p due to a number of factors including low cost, lack of alternatives became the most popular car in Poland. Its very small size gave it the nickname maluch ("the small one", "small child",) and became so widely used that in 1997 it was accepted by the producer as the official name of the car.

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